Can the ISPT trump the Epic Poker League

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Oct 24, 2011 Posted in Op-Ed, Tournament News | No Comments »

It seems odd that as poker is seemingly waning, especially in the US that so many new players would jump into the poker game, trying to lead the next wave of poker innovations. First there was the announcement of the Epic Poker League (EPL), which was followed by the Full Tilt Poker Onyx Cup (which never even got off the ground thanks to Black Friday), and now there is the International Stadiums Poker Tour (ISPT) scheduled to launch in 2012.

In this article I’m going to make a comparison between the ISPT and the EPL (sort of like a poker site reviews side-by-side comparison), and explain why I see more long-term potential in the ISPT.

* Poker has always touted itself as an “anyone can play” game

One of the drawbacks of the Epic Poker League is the inability to expand, at least quickly, due to the exclusivity the tour touts as one of its major strengths. Limiting the field size to no more than 300 players (if every single card-carrying EPL member shows up) means the tournaments have very little room for growth in the early years without picking up a number of major sponsors –which is about as likely as Full Tilt getting their AGCC license returned in the next week.

On the other hand, the ISPT is being billed as an “everyman’s tournament”. The ISPT is predicting field sizes in the tens-of-thousands, which means the tournament has more room for immediate growth (most likely by bumping the buy-in ever so slightly).

* It’s innovative: Combines online and live play –this isn’t about

When I say that the ISPT is innovative I’m not talking about a new poker format like adding Badugi, or ½ Pot Limit and ½ No Limit, this format is really innovative! A combination of online and live poker played in a stadium setting isn’t even in the same ballpark as other so-called “innovations”. The ISPT has the potential to be a game-changer, like online poker or the hole-card camera.

* It’s not basing its success on the big names showing up, but rather on the tournament itself

Once again the ISPT is not looking to draw big name players, instead they are hoping a $10 million first-prize will be all the incentive they need to attract entrants –and they are completely right. Personally I wouldn’t play in a tournament for the “potential possibility” of playing against Daniel Negreanu or Phil Hellmuth, but I would definitely take a look at playing in a tournament that was offering a first-place prize that is 10,000x the buy-in!

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